Introduction The Tata Group is a very large group of businesses that dominate markets in India. The organization has established itself as a leader in markets such as the airline industry, hotel, software, investment, and steel industry. There is a long history of corporate responsibility within the group, and it is no surprise that all Tata companies have adopted a Tata Code of Conduct as well as many international standards. Tata Steel is one of twenty-eight major corporations within the Tata Group.
Founded in 1907, it is the largest private sector steel company in India.
Operations are spread across the country, with the steel manufacturing unit at Jamshedpur, and other manufacturing and mining activities situated in the states of Jarkhand and Orissa at eight locations. The Tata Group headquarters is based in Mumbai, Maharastra. This paper provides an overview and analysis of the accounting problems that Tata Steel is faced with after acquiring a foreign company. Company Profile Tata Steel, incorporated in 1907 by Shri Dorabji Tata, is India’s largest private sector steel company belonging to the Tata Group.
The company manufactures finished steel, both long and flat products like hot and cold rolled coils and sheets, galvanized sheets, tubes, wire rods, construction re-bars, rings and bearings. The company markets its products in brands like “Tata Steelium, Tata Tiscon, Tata Pipes, etc. The company is among the lowest cost producers of steel in the world. Its main plant is located in Jamshedpur, having a manufacturing capacity of 5 MTPA (million tonne per annum) while its processing units, captive iron ore and coal mines are located in the states of Orissa, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.
With its head office located in Mumbai, the company functions through a network consisting of trading arms and operation and projects sites spread across countries in the continents of Asia, Europe and America. Apart from Steel there are six Strategic Business Units or divisions for Bearings, Ferro Alloys and Minerals, Rings and Agrico, Tata Growth Shop, Tubes, and Wires. It operates in more than 20 countries and has a commercial presence in over 50. In the past few years, Tata Steel has invested in Corus (UK), Millennium Steel (renamed Tata Steel Thailand) and NatSteel Asia (Singapore).
With these, the company has created a manufacturing and marketing network in Europe, South East Asia and the Pacific-rim countries Problem Tata Steel Faces Tata Steel is faced with a very serious, and somewhat complex, problem. The company has global ambitions. By that I mean the company wants to establish itself as a power and contender in the global marketplace. Tata Group acquired UK based Corus Group, a well established steel company in its own right, by way of a $12. 1 billion deal. The deal was partly funded with a $6. billion dollar loan that was primarily denominated in Euros. The currency in which the Corus Group earned most of its revenues was Euros. It made sense for the Tata Group to fund the deal in Euros in order to avoid exposing the debt to currency risk. The problems that the Tata Group would face due to this deal brought about an issue that the organization really did not have much experience in dealing with. Because of the currency denomination issues with this deal, the Tata Steel would have a liability of over $600 million on its financial books.
Although, the reality of the situation is that Tata Steel has a sound and balanced financial structure and accounting practices. Because of international accounting laws that India and the Tata Group have adopted, on the books it looks as if Tata Steel is carry more liabilities or debts than it really is. This is significant because an investor or shareholder would look at the company’s financials and think that the organization is not as financially stable as it really is. Tata Steel used Indian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (IGAAP) to prepare their financial statements.
IGAAP merged with the global accounting system known as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The problem with this is that by IFRS standards the merger, or natural hedge, was not recognized. IGAAP and IFRS both mandated that foreign currency loans be denominated in the borrowing company’s home currency for accounting purposes. This created a reporting problem for Tata Steel when in reality there was no financial problem with the deal. SWOT Analysis of Tata Steel Strengths Global position in steel industry
Tata Steel is one of the most prosperous and profitable steel companies in the world. The acquisition of Corus and other global steel companies have bolstered Tata’s position in the marketplace and made it one of the top steel companies in the world. Corporate governance Tata Steel has had a very good record for corporate governance. It has set the benchmark in global corporate governance principles of accountability, transparency, and equity for others to follow. Tata Steel has been consistently receiving prestigious awards at both the national and the international arena.
The company was awarded the Best Governed Company Award in 2006 for corporate practices presented by Asian Centre for Corporate Governance. Brand value The Tata Steel brand, owing to its highly ethical and a socialistic approach to business, has made its name synonymous to trust. The acquisition of Corus made Tata Steel an even more reputable and powerful company. Tats Steel was a well known brand even before the acquisition of Corus. The addition of Corus makes Tata Steel one of the most well known and productive companies in the world. Innovation of Tata Steel
Tata Steel has the lowest operating cost for steel manufacture in the world. Further it has displayed effective means in adopting an eco-friendly and sustainable approach towards the manufacture of steel thus proactive measures are undertaken to ensure the employee’s health and productivity through ergonomically designed work stations and by protecting them from occupational hazards. Adaptability to the fast changing global business environment Tata Steel has displayed immense agility in the recent past during the global financial crisis.
Its virtuosos of various fields have adopted various methods like lowering production and even shutting down steel plants due to the lack of demand, managing the balance sheet efficiently etc. The company has 70% of its procurement of raw materials for its operations in Asia through long term contracts and so its margins can be shielded from the nuances of the volatility of the financial markets. Management Team Tata Steel has a highly credible management team who has displayed their skills in expanding the company through various innovative methods.
The company has successfully acquired Nat Steel of Indonesia, Millennium Steel of Thailand and more importantly UK based Corus. The company’s virtuosos of finance have been able to find innovative ways to tackle the company’s debt and keep the bottom line in the green zone despite lower demand and a lot of accumulated debt. Weaknesses Debt burden Tata Steel has a total debt of $9. 8 billion USD on its books, much of it from the Corus acquisition. The company plans to refinance $6. 5 billion of its long term debt.
It has an unfavorable debt to equity ratio which means the assets of the company are largely financed through debt. With the steady increase in inflation most countries are beginning to tighten credit and liquidity in the money markets. As a result of inflation increases, interest rates are on the rise as well. An increase in interest rates means an increase in the company’s liabilities. This will further add to the degradation of Tata Steel’s balance sheet. Conservative accounting practices India has very conservative accounting standards.
The system works within the country but lacks flexibility and adaptability when it comes to reporting differences in currency. Because the Tata Group has global aspirations, the company must deal in various currencies when doing business with global companies. The problem lies in the rules governing the accounting practices within India. All foreign currencies must be converted to the home countries currency when reporting on financial statements. Technology Many steel companies have implemented different technologies into their plants to make production and productivity more efficient.
There is a new fluorescent x-ray technology that some companies have adopted. Tata Steel is lacking in this area. Tata Steel has failed to adopt new technology to lower cost, improve production, and improve employee safety standards. Procurement philosophy of its subsidiaries The largest subsidiary of Tata Steel, Corus, has high exposure to spot prices and a higher operational gearing among the larger European steel companies. Hence it has the risk of volatility associated with pricing, one of the key elements in determining profitability of a commodity company. Opportunities
Competitive position Tata Steel is the second largest producer of steel in India and the sixth largest producer in the world. Over the years Tata Steel has been acquiring various steel companies around the world, the latest being Corus. There is a lot of room for Tata to grow and further establish itself as a perennial power in the global marketplace. Technological advances Tata Steel has shown immense integration abilities in the past. With the acquisition of Corus it has been able to integrate the high end technological knowledge into its production facilities.
The company has also been able to produce high quality steel at lower prices and significantly improve its operating margins. Infrastructure opportunities India has geared up for rapid expansion in the field of infrastructure. The Government of India (GOI) has earmarked Rs. 1, 70,000 crore for infrastructural spending for the fiscal year 2010- 2011 and the trend is set to escalate up to the fiscal year 2025 when India is slated to become the third largest economy in the world. Further many private players either independently or by undergoing public private partnerships (PPP) has also come into the fray.
The consumption of steel has been steadily increasing with the rapid investment in the infrastructure and real estate projects. The annual steel production of India has touched 200MT and according to governments steel policy is expected to touch around 250 MT by 2013-2014. The demand for Indian made steel is escalating overseas out of the 200 MT of steel currently produced in India around 50% of it is exported. In the first six months of the fiscal year 2009-2010 the Indian steel export almost doubled to 9. 3MT from 4. MT in the same period the previous fiscal year. The country’s iron ore exports during April-October 2009 period grew 20 per cent over the year ago period to 53 million tons. Accounting practices India’s accounting regulations does a disservice to many of the companies who operate globally. Because of the reporting regulations, Tata Steel has a liability on its balance sheet that realy doesn’t exist. The currency conversion rules hinders Tata Steel from putting together a balance sheet that reflects its actual holdings and activities.
Tata Steel has an opportunity to help change the accounting standards in India to allow companies to report their financial activities accurately so that shareholders will have an accurate view of the financial position the company is in. Demand for steel The demand for steel is on arise both domestically and internationally as a result of the enhanced focus upon infrastructural development. Secondly with other steel projects of international giants POSCO, ARCELOR MITTAL stalled due to land acquisition problems the prices of steel are slated to soar.
In the month of April 2010 the steel prices were increased by Rs. 2500/ton and this is just the brink of the U-Shaped economic recovery and the prices are slated to rise further in the near future. Acquisitions In the aftermath of the financial crisis various mineral assets are available globally at a price which is just a fraction of their prime value. The government of various countries has been putting up coal blocks under the hammer. Tata Steel has been very active in the asset acquisition space and has bagged various coal blocks in Asia, Africa etc. which is essential for its security of raw materials.
Threats International competition Companies like the Indian Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal’s Arcelor Mittal and Posco have landed on the shores of India. These are amongst the largest steel producers in the world and have a high chance of eating into the market share of Tata Steel. Indian market is also plagued with cheaper Chinese made steel which is ubiquitously available and is significantly digging into the market-share of all Indian steel makers including Tata Steel. Down Economy Tata Steel has a very large debt of 9. 8 billion USD on its books and has a huge interest burden.
With the volatility of the financial markets and the tightening of credit and liquidity by the banks, interest rates are slated to go up and would further increase the interest burden of the company. Regulatory issues in India The government of India has chalked a strict norm for the clearance of a plant through environmental impact assessment (EIA). To get clearance from the concerned authority demands more than eight months thus leads to delay and project cost escalation. Albeit the governments’ steel policy has been pro industry in order to increase the steel capacity at a brisk pace.